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Against the Loveless World

4.37  ·  Rating details ·  1,657 ratings  ·  383 reviews
From the internationally bestselling author of the “terrifically affecting” (The Philadelphia Inquirer) Mornings in Jenin, a sweeping and lyrical novel that follows a young Palestinian refugee as she slowly becomes radicalized while searching for a better life for her family throughout the Middle East, for readers of international literary bestsellers including Washington ...more
Paperback, 384 pages
Published July 23rd 2020 by Bloomsbury Circus (first published April 19th 2019)
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Average rating 4.37  · 
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 ·  1,657 ratings  ·  383 reviews

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Jan 07, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is how you do it. Start the year with 5⭐️
What a stunning story told by Nahr, a woman who reflects on her past from a cell which is also known as the cube in Israel, as a political prisoner.
The crisis of being Palestinian and a woman in Kuwait, then being forced out into Palestine. Trying to develop her own sense of identity. Believing at a young age that marriage would be the answer only to find it wasn’t .
This is a about the challenges of living in occupied lands, being a female where wome
Jun 17, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Susan Abulhawa writes a blend of fact and fiction, epic storytelling amidst the landscape of a conflict ridden and war torn Middle East, from the unashamed and unapologetic perspective of the Palestinian experience and struggle, of the suffering under the deadly Israeli occupation and resistance. Nahr, a political prisoner, is incarcerated in the harsh conditions of The Cube, a prison where time has ceased to have any meanng, in solitary confinement, where she narrates the life journey, the path ...more
Diane S ☔
Sep 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Impactful and Haunting. There are a few books that have haunted me through the years, books that when I hear the titles take me right back. This will join that very short list. Nahr is such a complete character, we understand her thoughts, her actions, whether we agree with them or not. We first meet her in the cube, a new form of solitary confinement, she is now middle aged and reflecting on her last life. This will take the reader from Palestine, to Kuwait, to Jordan and back to Palestine.

Katie B
One thing I love about reading is it gives you opportunity to hear different perspectives. While I have read both fiction and nonfiction books about the Middle East, I'm not going to pretend I fully comprehend the complexities of the conflicts. All I can do is read, listen, and hopefully learn and I feel like by reading this book featuring a Palestinian refugee character, I was able to accomplish my goal of getting a different perspective. It was certainly a thought provoking reading experience. ...more
Jan 20, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2020
I was first drawn to this book by the beautiful and eye-catching cover, but after reading the synopsis I immediately added it to my TBR. It could be due to American media and news coverage, but I haven’t been exposed to much of the experiences of the Palestinian people. Any Gaza & West Bank related news in the US has typically been filtered through a strong pro-Israeli lens, which paints an uneven picture of the ongoing conflict in the region.

Told as flashbacks between present day Nahr as she i
Jun 18, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the story of a Palestinian woman Nahr (meaning River) who lives in Kuwait until shortly after the US forces enter the country following the Iraqi occupation. She then relocates to Amman in Jordan and Palestine. She tells her story from The Cube, an Israeli prison. This is a story of conflict and resistance, of dangerous love and survival by any means possible. This is not an easy read and right now in the midst Covid pandemic may not be the best timing for such a book.

There are parts of
Nahr is writing her story from The Cube, her prison cell in Israel. Her story begins with being born in Kuwait to a Palestinian refugee couple. She works hard all her life but finds the family always needs more money, and, in order to send her brother to university, she reluctantly turns to prostitution. The night that Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait she had found herself in a gang rape situation, and said that Saddam saved her life. She loved living under Sadam until he was ousted. Her husband ha ...more
“Against the Loveless World” illuminates the struggles of people in war torn countries. Narrator Nahr is a Palestinian woman living in Kuwait during the Gulf war and resistance in Palestine. She lives with her mother, brother and grandmother after her husband abandoned her (the reader learns the reason later in the story). Her brother has dreams of becoming a doctor, but the family is poor. She inadvertently falls into high-end prostitution. She enjoys the power of her body, and she really enjoy ...more
Against the Loveless World follows the dark and poignant story of Nahr who sits in an Israeli prison cell and recounts how she got there. She is born in Kuwait to Palestinian refugees and eventually makes her way back to Palestine. I haven’t read many story of refugees and I thought Abulhawa did a great job in capturing the voices of the women she had interviewed. Mixing fiction and facts, Nahr is based off multiple women in one so while I do think she was interesting, I felt her character was a ...more
Oct 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Book hangover ensues 😞
What a book!!!!
Oct 17, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: e-books
The daughter of Palestinian refugees, Nahr grows up in Kuwait with her widowed mother, brilliant younger brother, and grandmother. As a Palestinian, she is not treated equally, eventually migrating to Amman, Jordan. A bad marriage forces Nahr into prostitution to provide for her family, especially her younger brother's dream to be a doctor. When Nahr returns to Palestine to finally divorce her husband, she is adopted by his brother and mother. Witnessing the effects of Israeli settlements on her ...more
Jul 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Against The Loveless World is the highly anticipated third novel by Susan Abulhawa. When I heard Abulhawa had a new book coming out I was beside myself with joy. As per her previous novels, this one too is based on the experience of a displaced Palestinian family. Our main protagonist is Nahr, who goes also by Almas and Yaqoot, and just as her names are many so too are the lives she lives. Moving from Palestine to Kuwait, to Jordan and back to Palestine before being imprisoned by Israel in what ...more
Against The Loveless World by Susan Abulhawa opens in The Cube, an Israeli high tech prison where Nahr, a Palestinian woman, recounts the story of how she ended up there. Nahr is in solitary confinement but spends her time taking us, the reader, through her very difficult path. Nahr’s parents are from Palestine but had to flee the country because of conflict. Nahr was born in Kuwait and while she loved the country, at times she did not feel welcomed there. Living with her mother, grandmother a ...more
Roman Clodia
There's lots of interesting material in this book which offers up a Palestinian view of Middle Eastern politics ('I thought Saddam was invincible. I believed he'd be the Arab leader who would finally defeat Western imperialists and Zionist colonizers') with particular attention to the lives of women, but I'm less convinced that it works as a coherent novel.

Abulhawa mentions her research at the end and it seems to me that taking the experiences of multiple women and allocating them all to a sing
MaryBeth's Bookshelf
Incredible. I am at a loss for words.
Maria (mariaoverbooked)
I feel like I've been waiting my entire life to read this book.

I lived in the Gaza strip from 1994-2000 - my youngest memories are of living in Palestine. I've spent my entire adult life attempting to explain the suffering of Palestine people to people who had only been told or taught about the *sovereignty* of Israel and this book felt like being heard, seen, recognized for the first time.

To have this beautiful work in mainstream fiction detailing the crimes that have been committed (and are
Thushara (Triobookdragons)
I read Against The Loveless World by Susan Abulhawa back in October and loved it to bits. Infact I find myself at a loss of words to describe how perfect and brilliant this book is! So more of a gushing than a review 😅⠀

Nahr, born to Palestine refugees, is narrating her story as she is imprisoned in a solitary confinement called The Cube. If you look closely at the cover, you can find the illustration of Nahr in The Cube (which is so brillinatly done!). As Nahr recounts her life from The Cube, w
Mar 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I am so full and satisfied from this absolutely brilliant novel. My heart is about to burst with joy from the experience of reading this beautiful book. If I could give it more than 5 stars I would. Stunning.
Nov 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Deeply moving and defiant. Nahr is a truly memorable and inspirational character.
I enjoyed this interesting look at middle eastern culture and found the experience of reading about the life of refugees extremely moving. The characters in the novel are dynamic and experience some of the traumatic realities that displaced people often face. However, for me the plot dragged a little and I found myself "skimming" pages. I loath when books make me skim.

Thank you Netgalley and Atria Books for the opportunity to receive this arc in exchange for an honest review.
Jaclyn (sixminutesforme)
I haven’t had a book that just emotionally destroyed me as much as this did in quite a while 😭💗🥺 The James Baldwin quote that the title is a nod to reverberates through this narrative once you finish reading, and what it means in the context of these characters is such a remarkably drawn connection. AGAINST THE LOVELESS WORLD by Susan Abulhawa (@atriabooks #gifted) is dual timeline narrative perfection, truly. Nahr is telling us her life story from The Cube, a solitary confinement cell, includin ...more
May 09, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a fascinating read which I couldn't just race through... There's a lot of content and a lot trying to be expressed through the main characters. In fact, the author did alot of research which involved several different women. The story was interesting and kept my attention, but it was a novel to read part of, put it down and digest the content of what I had just read, pick back up and continue later.

It is an enjoyable read, but the main character seemed to be a compilation of several of
Yelda Basar Moers
Against the Loveless World is a new release by a Palestinian American writer who is also a political activist. Her latest novel tells the story of a Palestinian woman Nahr in the 1970's who is born and grows up in Kuwait until Saddam Hussein invades and she and her family must flee for Jordan and eventually settle on Palestinian lands. While a young woman in Kuwait, Nahr finds herself in prostitution to support her family and send her brother to medical school. Ultimately she ends up ensnarled i ...more
Rums The Reader
Mar 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
*I was sent a kindle edition / ARC of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*

I honestly don’t even know where to begin in expressing how utterly devastating and beautiful this book is. Against the Loveless World follows Nahr, a Palestinian woman who has been imprisoned in the Cube, a space devoid of any notion of time, with infrequent visitors who try and extract her story with little to no success. The novel goes back and forth in time, showing Nahr’s life and events leading u
Sep 14, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
“𝑻𝒉𝒐𝒔𝒆 𝒅𝒆𝒔𝒕𝒊𝒕𝒖𝒕𝒆 𝒓𝒆𝒇𝒖𝒈𝒆𝒆𝒔 𝒇𝒓𝒐𝒎 𝑰𝒓𝒂𝒒 𝒂𝒏𝒅 𝑬𝒕𝒉𝒊𝒐𝒑𝒊𝒂 𝒚𝒐𝒖 𝒍𝒊𝒌𝒆 𝒕𝒐 𝒕𝒂𝒍𝒌 𝒂𝒃𝒐𝒖𝒕 𝒘𝒊𝒕𝒉 𝒔𝒖𝒄𝒉 𝒇𝒆𝒎𝒊𝒏𝒊𝒔𝒕 𝒇𝒆𝒓𝒗𝒐𝒓- 𝒅𝒐 𝒚𝒐𝒖 𝒌𝒏𝒐𝒘 𝒘𝒉𝒂𝒕 𝒕𝒉𝒆𝒚 𝒅𝒐? 𝑻𝒉𝒆𝒚 𝒔𝒆𝒍𝒍 𝒕𝒉𝒆𝒊𝒓 𝒅𝒂𝒖𝒈𝒉𝒕𝒆𝒓𝒔 𝒂𝒏𝒅 𝒔𝒐𝒏𝒔. 𝑯𝒐𝒏𝒐𝒓 𝒊𝒔 𝒂𝒏 𝒆𝒙𝒑𝒆𝒏𝒅𝒂𝒃𝒍𝒆 𝒍𝒖𝒙𝒖𝒓𝒚 𝒘𝒉𝒆𝒏 𝒚𝒐𝒖 𝒉𝒂𝒗𝒆 𝒏𝒐 𝒎𝒆𝒂𝒏𝒔 𝒐𝒓 𝒔𝒉𝒆𝒍𝒕𝒆𝒓 𝒊𝒏 𝒕𝒉𝒊𝒔 𝒇𝒖𝒄𝒌𝒊𝒏𝒈 𝒘𝒐𝒓𝒍𝒅. 𝑾𝒆 𝒂𝒓𝒆 𝒏𝒐𝒕 𝒂𝒍𝒍 𝒃𝒍𝒆𝒔𝒔𝒆𝒅 𝒕𝒐 𝒓𝒆𝒄𝒆𝒊𝒗𝒆 𝒂 𝒈𝒐𝒐𝒅 𝒆𝒅𝒖𝒄𝒂𝒕𝒊𝒐𝒏 𝒂𝒏𝒅 𝒊𝒏𝒉𝒆𝒓𝒊𝒕 𝒘𝒉𝒂𝒕 𝒊𝒕 𝒕𝒂𝒌𝒆𝒔 𝒕𝒐 𝒍𝒊𝒗𝒆 𝒘𝒊𝒕𝒉 𝒔𝒐𝒎𝒆 𝒅𝒊𝒈𝒏𝒊𝒕𝒚. 𝑺𝒐𝒎𝒆 𝒐𝒇 𝒖𝒔, 𝑴𝒂𝒅𝒂𝒎 𝑯𝒐𝒏𝒐𝒓, 𝒆𝒏𝒅 𝒘𝒊𝒕𝒉 𝒍𝒊𝒕𝒕𝒍𝒆 𝒄𝒉𝒐𝒊𝒄𝒆 𝒃𝒖𝒕 𝒕𝒐 𝑭𝒖𝒄𝒌. 𝑭𝒐𝒓. 𝑴𝒐𝒏𝒆𝒚”
This book has hit me like a dagger that has ripped my heart apart into milli
Saniya Ahmad
Nov 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Nahr has been living in the Cube, a solitary confinement prison, for the past 16 years on the crimes of terrorism. She whiles away her time thinking of the events that led up to her arrest in a country that she detests. So she starts narrating her story, writing it in Palestinian code, to preserve her history and to find Bilal, the freedom fighter who stood against the Israeli soldiers, Bilal, her lover, Bilal, her husband, Bilal, her life.

She was born in Kuwait to Palestinian refuges and dreams
Jul 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley, arcs
"Against the Loveless World" by Susan Abulhawa absolutely blew me away! It's the story of a young Palestinian woman named Nahr whose difficult circumstances lead her to join the Palestinian resistance. This book opened my eyes to the plight of the Palestinian people whose homelands are encroached by Israel. Parts of this book are absolutely heartbreaking, made even more so when one realizes they are based on true events. Nahr is one of my favorite literary characters. She is strong, intelligent, ...more
Jamie Schultz (whatjamieread)
There are a million things I want to write about this story but all of my thoughts are grounded in one central idea: how terribly unfair it is to live life as a refugee, constantly being uprooted from your life, and not having a place to call your home. The MC, Nahr, is an imperfect person and she sometimes made choices that I didn't agree with. But regardless of her actions, I can't deny how truly brave and resilient she is. She experiences so much life in such a short time and even in situatio ...more
Jan 26, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is one of the best books I’ve read in years. It explores the complex Israeli-Palestinian conflict and offers a viewpoint that most Westerners are unfamiliar with -- and it’s a viewpoint that deserves to be shared. The story was deep, rich, heartbreaking and wonderful. Five stars all around.
Liz Hein
Nov 15, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Above anything else, this book has made me realize I want/need to read a lot more about the Palestinian/Israeli conflict and that it isn't just a good vs evil issue. This is the story of a Palestinian refugee in solitary confinement reflecting on how she got there and it was a gripping story. This quote from the story really resonated with me "I can't tell if he's a hero or a traitor. He's both. And he's neither". It has me reflecting a lot on how historically we categorize things as either good ...more
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Also Susan Abulhawa
(Arabic: سوزان أبو الهوى)

susan abulhawa was born to refugees of the 1967 war when Israel captured what remained of Palestine, including Jerusalem. She currently lives in Pennsylvania with her daughter. She is the founder and President of Playgrounds for Palestine, a children’s organization dedicated to upholding The Right to Play for Palestinian children. Her debut novel, Mornin

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